A genealogy site, in the United Kingdom, has reported a 40 percent surge in membership following the Brexit vote as people search for their Irish roots, in the hope of successfully applying for an Irish passport.
Ancestry.co.uk, a site which allows the public to trace their family tree, has seen a rise in membership numbers since the public voted, at referendum, in favor of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. According to reports the site has seen a deluge in people searching their family history, looking for an Irish connection. These reports tally with news coming from Ireland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs, which confirmed a massive boom in applications for Irish passports.Ancestry United Kingdom's Country Manager Sue Moncur told the British newspaper the Daily Star "Since the referendum we have seen the rate of new UK users signing up for free trials to investigate their family history go up by 40%.
"At the same time we have seen a strong rise in interest in our Irish record collections, with daily searches for Irish records up by 20% since the referendum."
Ireland appears to be the number one choice for those in the United Kingdom feeling nervous after the "Leave" vote was victorious. This is not surprising as six million residents in the United Kingdom have an Irish grandparent, this would entitle them to an Irish passport. And it's worth noting that those with Irish parents are automatically entitled to dual passports.
Access to an Irish passport would afford those nervous UK residents the right to work, travel and live throughout the 27 countries in the European Union, liberties which may be lost as they exit the EU.
Since the referendum results the demand for Irish passports has been so high that Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, was forced to appeal to the people of the United Kingdom to stop rushing to apply as they were putting a severe strain on the consular resources.
In fact, in Northern Ireland, it has been reported, that several post offices ran out of Irish passport application forms.
Evidence that Irish ancestry and our passports are a la mode was alway plain to see through Google searches date. The internet giant witnessed a 100 percent rise in searches, related to the United Kingdom, for the phrase "getting an Irish passport."
Ancestry UK's manager Moncur continued saying "The question of British identity has been brought into focus for many because of the referendum. The spike in interest in people investigating their family history is likely linked to that, alongside a more general curiosity about European or international identity.
“A lot of people have also been concerned about the impact that separation from the EU may have on freedom of movement between the UK and EU countries. It seems likely that the rise in searches of our extensive Irish records might be a direct result of people looking for a link to Ireland or an Irish ancestor.
“There are tens of millions of Irish records digitised on Ancestry and since the referendum we have seen a 20% rise in people searching those records. Millions of British people have Irish ancestry so the increase in search activity suggests a trend in people looking to confirm their links to Ireland, possibly with the longer term goal of applying for an Irish passport.”
Here's a France 24 report, from last week, interviewing UK residents applying for Irish passports: